Meet the MBA Class of 2024: DJ Prahladka, U.C. Berkeley (Haas)

DJ Prahladka

University of California Berkeley, Haas School of Business

“An aspiring storyteller, aiming to better vocalize experiences and perspectives to clients, co-workers, and friends.”

Hometown: Kanpur, India

Fun Fact About Yourself: I spent my 18th birthday on three different continents!

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Wisconsin – Madison, Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering; Six Sigma Green Belt Certificate

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Deloitte Consulting LLP; Consultant

Berkeley Haas is founded on four Defining Leadership Principles: Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always, and Beyond Yourself. Which principle resonates most with you and why?

“Question the Status Quo” resonates with me the most, because it teaches me two key things:

1) It is okay to be uncomfortable with the current status of things.

2) There are likely steps that you can take to change the current situation.

What has been your first impression of the Haas MBA students and alumni you’ve met so far. Tell us your best Haas story so far. The Haas admissions committee does an incredible job of recruiting students from diverse backgrounds and varied experiences. During orientation Eric Askins, dean of admissions, read excerpts from student essays about what made them “feel alive”. I looked around at the people around me and was in awe. There were chefs, runners, actors, poets, bankers, people from all over the world with different cultural, ethnic, and social backgrounds. Each of these identities was truly valued and celebrated at Haas, and people genuinely made an effort to get to know one another beyond their career aspirations.

Aside from classmates and the Defining Leadership Principles, what was the key part of Berkeley Haas’ MBA curriculum programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? All full-time MBA students are required to take an Applied Innovation course to fulfill degree requirements. These courses are experiential learning courses where students consult with local or global companies to make a real-world impact. In particular, I am most interested in the International Business Development (IBD) course where student teams partner with an organization around the world, travel to that location and offer consulting services to them.

What course, club or activity excites you the most at Berkeley Haas? I am most excited for the quadfecta of trips that first years at Haas typically go on. This includes: Haas Vegas, Haasemite (Yosemite), HaaSki (Tahoe Skiing), and Haas Boats (Houseboats on Lake Shasta). We LOVE our puns! These are all great opportunities to build connections with fellow classmates outside of our core courses and enjoy some of what the West Coast has to offer.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: I was once working with a large US healthcare provider company that was overhauling their electronic health record management system. These types of transitions can often result in huge revenue losses for the company due to training, technical, and implementation issues.

I developed an analytical tool that analyzed historical revenue data for the organization and predicted what the future revenues would be. It also compared predicted revenues against actual revenues to determine any deviations. Using this tool, we were able to pinpoint areas that resulted in significant variations from predicted revenues and developed action plans to resolve them. We were able to mitigate over $5M in daily revenue losses for the organization and were able to return to pre-transition revenues within six days (five times faster than our original goal).

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? One of my projects at Deloitte involved revamping the inventory management process for a large non-profit organization. From accounting and finance to supply chain and procurement, this change impacted several different departments in the organization. While I was comfortable with understanding the supply chain impact, I sometimes overlooked the effects on other business departments. I realized that I needed a more rounded business education so that I could provide more holistic advice for my clients.

Furthermore, I wanted to be at the forefront of innovation and advise our clients on the use of advanced analytics and blockchain technology, subject matters that I knew nothing about. I wanted to immerse myself in the technology ecosystem and learn from fellow students, professors, and young professionals who had worked in this area before.

After graduation I plan to return to Deloitte as a strategy consultant focusing on AI strategy.

What is one thing you have recently read, watched, or listened to that you would highly recommend to prospective MBAs? Why? I listened to the B-Schooled Podcast on Spotify as I was applying to MBA programs. It covers a lot of different topics like writing essays, picking schools, and test prep.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? Kellogg, Wharton, Ross, Anderson

What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Berkeley Haas’ MBA program? Be authentic. Every person I have met at Haas is different. They come from different backgrounds and have different struggles and experiences. However, one thing that ties everyone together is that everyone has done some soul searching to discover who they are.

Confidence without Attitude is a defining leadership principle. Hoyt Ng, one of the amazing Career Management Group advisors at Haas, defined this principle as knowing both your strengths and your weaknesses. So don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and present your true self in your essays!


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